Read by George W. Wells at
Meeting of Society, November 29, 1909
Style of Buildings
A very notable feature which characterized the growth and extension of the A. O. Co. has been the constant study and untiring efforts of the officers of the Company to keep well ahead on modern ideas in building construction with a full realization of the importance of such a policy upon the efficiency and permanency of this industry. As a net result it is significantly shown that there has been a complete evolution wrought, and during the decade just passed the plant has been entirely rebuilt...
...The buildings erected in 1871-72 were of wood, and consisted of three stories, the basement being of brick. The main part was 45 feet square with mansard roof, and wing 65 feet long, 26 feet wide extended to the south; a wing 90 feet long and 26 feet wide extending to the east, from which another wing 45 feet long and 26 feet wide extended to the south, as shown by cut.
The construction of these buildings above the brick basement was entirely of wood, as were many of the additions up to about 1890. Previous to this, however, the outside walls of these wooden structures were filled with brick and mortar poured in from the top to insure safety from fire.
The first development which may be said to have marked the beginning in the application of the policy of progressiveness in buildings was the substitution of flat roofs covered with felt and slag for the hipped or gable roofs of slate, eliminating the objectionable attics, thereby reducing the fire hazard. This was effected in 1897.
In 1899 the first brick and timber wing now known as the north front of the Main Works, was erected. This settled the architectural design of the front elevation and marked a new era in buildings. Thenceforth the reconstruction was rapidly advanced and the pleasing appearance of the front, while settled upon eleven years ago, stands out in contrast to the architectural appearance of many industrial plants erected today. The last of the wooden buildings occupied in 1872, center of plant, were demolished in 1908...
...It is interesting as an evidence of progress in considering the developments in buildings to note the advantages taken of the most modern structural practice with respect to natural lighting. In the main front the size of the windows represented the most advanced ideas on this point at the time of building. Back of the Mechanic Street structure the great wings show an interesting evolution. The use of steel floor beams permitted the narrowing of pilasters and correspondingly greater window areas. Subsequently the use of the Z-bar construction, mentioned above, permitted further extensions in window area so that in the wings recently erected the windows extend to the ceilings and a great advantage in interior illumination is gained. The new steel reinforced concrete Lensdale Building is an example of the latest and most approved ideas for factory construction. The steel sash presented new possibilities in size. These windows extend from floor to ceiling, 12 1/2 feet high, and are in some cases 21 feet long..."
...1900 Tower Clock...
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